If you or a family member have been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident because one of the drivers was negligent, you may be eligible to claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
The RAF is a publicly accessible fund set up to provide monetary compensation to those who have suffered injuries as a result of an accident on public roads.
This means that even if the driver of the car doesn't have insurance, people injured in the accident (or the loved ones of people killed in the accident) can get money from the fund to help pay medical expenses and to compensate for wages they may have lost as a result of the accident.
What is the Road Accident Fund (RAF)?
The RAF provides financial assistance to people injured in road accidents or the dependants of people killed in road accidents caused by negligent driving.
The fund is financed by a fuel levy that's included in the petrol and diesel price.
Who can claim?
- A person who was injured in the accident (except the driver who caused the accident).
- Drivers (excluding the driver who caused the accident), passengers and pedestrians involved in the accident.
- If you were the driver in the accident but are not the owner of the car and the accident was caused by the owner's negligence (for example, if they didn't fix the brakes) and you are injured, then you can claim from the fund.
- A child, spouse or other person who depended on the income of the person who died in the accident.
- A close relative of the dead person who paid for the funeral
- A claimant under the age of 18 years must be assisted by a parent or legal guardian.
When can you not claim from the fund?
- A person who caused the accident can't claim from the fund. You can only lodge a claim if the accident was caused by someone else's negligent driving.
- You can't claim if you were the only person and vehicle involved in the accident. The RAF doesn't compensate individuals who are the primary cause of the accident for example, if someone who drives off a bridge due to their own negligence.
What can you get compensation for?
- Medical expenses.
- Funeral expenses.
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
- Lost earnings if you were unable to work.
- Loss of support. Dependents of the main income provider of the household who was killed in the accident as a result of someone else’s negligence can claim loss of support.
How to claim from the Road Accident Fund
You can claim from the Fund yourself or you can get a lawyer to claim for you but you'll have to pay for their services.
You must make the claim within 3 years of the date of the accident, if you know who caused the accident. If you don't know who the driver or owner of the vehicle was that caused the accident, you need to claim within 2 years.
To claim, you need to complete and sign the appropriate claim form (Form 1 is to be used in respect of claims arising prior to 1 August 2008 and RAF 1 from 1 August 2008 onwards).
You will need the following to make a claim
- The name of the police station where the accident was reported, the case number, a copy of the police report, a charge sheet and a sketch of the accident scene.
- Receipts, accounts and vouchers to prove medical claims and expenses.
- A medical report and a letter from your doctor stating the amount you will pay in the future for medical expenses as a result of the accident.
- A letter from your employer stating the amount you lost as a result of unpaid wages.
- A written letter that gives permission for the hospital to hand over your medical records to the RAF.
- A sworn statement and statements from any witnesses to the accident.
Keep it simple
The Road Accident Fund recently launched its #Keepitsimple campaign and encourages potential claimants to claim directly from them instead of using a lawyer.
By handling the claim yourself, you stand to reap the full payout and benefit due to you, says the fund.
The campaign aims to simplify the claim process into 3 easy steps:
- Gather and compile the necessary documents.
- Complete the submission forms.
- Submit the documents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions to the RAF, grouped in their respective categories:
Where do you lodge a claim?
You can lodge your claim and find out more information from the official RAF website, or at the RAF offices in Cape Town:
Seventh Floor, No. 1 Thibault Square, Long Street, Cape Town, 8001
Private Bag X28, Roggebaai, 8012
Tel: 021 408 3300
Fax: 021 419 7417 / 8740